Perhaps the most effective, hands-on learning experience I have had in my time as a student at MNSU was developing and creating a wiki. The project encouraged teamwork, and taught some valuable web-based communication and design skills. In creating an assignment for a globally networked learning environment, I would build on that concept in a multifaceted way.
My idea is to have students work together in teams of two, each student paired with a student from a university in another part of the world, or even simply another culture. Each student would be given the task to interview their partner, and then create a wiki which would include a resume and a biography. In order to complete this project successfully, students would need to ask questions about their partner’s education and work history, as well as get to know them well enough to write about their goals, interests, and skills.
One of the challenges of this project would be the language barrier. Assuming the students were to work in English, I would still encourage the American-based student to research and listen to the language of their International partner. Additionally, they would need to learn about the culture and geographic area where their partner lived so as to create a biography that effectively described the student within the context of their life.
I think this project would be an interesting assignment for a globally networked learning environment because it requires students to approach International communication from a few different angles. In addition to learning more about their partner and their partner’s culture, they would have the opportunity to create information both common and useful in the business world. Creating an effective resume is an important skill, and the ability to consider the social and cultural context of the audience is vital for grant writers, as well as for people in many other technical communication positions.
Finally, this project would require students to create and design a wiki in a way that showcased clear communication and effective organization, language, and graphics. Students would need to research successful resume styles, and design a page that would visually encourage a potential employer to keep reading, as well as highlight the skills and experience of the candidate
This summer, our ENG 572 course covered a number of valuable aspects of successful globally networked learning environments, and a few of these stood out to me as the bases for all International communication. In addition to being open minded and willing to step outside ourselves in order to better understand another, we focused on the value of a common goal, clear communication, and the technology and tools necessary to communicate well with someone from another part of the world. I think a project that incorporated all these aspects would be a challenge, but one with the potential to become a rewarding globally-minded learning experience.
-Rachel Walker, ENG 572